After more than twenty-three years addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs, David Parnell put an SKS assault rifle under his chin and pulled the trigger. The blast took off half his face, yet somehow he survived. Following an afterlife experience where he briefly experienced both hell and heaven, David woke up in the hospital. He was changed forever, both physically and emotionally.
In 2010, David Parnell and I wrote his memoir, FACING THE DRAGON: How a Desperate Act Pulled One Addict Out of Methamphetamine Hell, about his horrific drug addiction and dual suicide attempts. In Facing the Dragon, you will witness the slow, agonizing metamorphosis of a good-looking high-school athlete into a violent, drug-dealing, psychotic wife-beater whose children were terrified of him. In graphic detail, you’ll relive his suicide attempts and then walk alongside him as he endures countless surgeries to reconstruct his decimated face and learns how to cope with his hideous disfigurement.
One chapter focused on his wife Amy’s s story and HER addictions. Amy just celebrated her 10th year in recovery, and I couldn’t be happier for her. She just posted a bit more about her struggles and her victory on our book page, www.facebook.com/FacingtheDragonBook, but here it is for you:
(Amy Parnell) Feb. 1st is the date I chose as my recovery date. I don’t know the exact date because there was no event like an arrest or a trip to rehab to remember it by. It was just another awful day like so many others while in addiction, but it was a day that decided I could not live like that anymore. This past Feb. 1st marked 10 years. It wasn’t an easy at first, but it was so worth it.
When I first quit using meth I was under the impression that if I could just make it without using for 30 days everything would be fine. All I had ever heard about was people going to 28-30 day rehabs. I knew nothing about real recovery. I didn’t know about triggers, drug dreams, how long the process really took or anything. After I did not get “better” after 30 days I thought I was broken and not like the rest of the recovered addicts. I was pregnant at that time and decided when my baby was born I was going to kill myself. I could not live with the daily cravings and the manic depression I was suffering and I could not hurt my children by getting back on meth. In my mind I thought a dead mother was better than a meth addicted mother. I was still half-crazy during that first year.
When I was about 6 months pregnant I saw a news report about Mothers Against Methamphetamine. I called the lady and ordered some of their literature. That was the first real education I had ever received about addiction and recovery. The literature said that everything I was going through was normal and it took up to two years to really recover from meth addiction and get the chemicals regulated in the brain again. It gave me a renewed sense of hope. I was not a hopeless case, I was a normal addict. I still wasn’t totally convinced, but decided I’d give myself two years to see if they were right. Guess what? The person I was with two years clean was nothing at all like the sick, crazy woman I was before.
God is good.”
Facing the Dragon is not just for those who have been impacted by addiction. By experiencing the nightmare of David’s life—and his brief glimpses of heaven and hell—you will find hope and healing when facing your own life-threatening dragons, whatever they are.
Until next time,
Amy Hammond Hagberg
Author, Editor, Speaker